From the news desk

Escalation in gang related violence in Bonteheuwel

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In the latest flare up of gang violence in Bonteheuwel, an Imam and his family were shot at in a drive-by shooting.

Imam Maghedien Abrahams, whose wife is in critical condition, in hospital, was a victim when gunman drove past him and four other members of his family and opened fire on them.

Grant Abrahams, chairperson for the Bonteheuwel peace forum said that this was a very sad and tragic event that unfolded and it is something that could have been prevented. The peace forum says that they are trying to provide support to the Imam and his family during this difficult time.

“We have heard from the police service (SAPS) that they are treating this as a case of mistaken identity, but we are not quite sure who the perpetrators are and who they were looking for,” explained Abrahams.

According to police the Imam and his family were mistakenly shot at, however the perpetrators have yet to be caught and arrested.

“The gang wars now in the area have escalated so much that gangs are at a gruesome stage now to shoot at an entire family like this is very tragic and it gives the sense that gangs are acting with impunity,” added Abrahams.

Abrahams says that as the peace forum they need to work with SAPS so that they can bring about justice for this family. Further, the peace forum have called on SAPS to make this case a priority.

“We can only refer to the matter where the train driver was shot at Netreg not too long ago where all four of the perps were arrested within days,” says Abrahams.

“We really need to see the same kind of justice being served.”

The Bonteheuwel Peace Forum and the Bishop Lavis Community Policing Forum (CPF) have said however that the escalation in gang violence is due to a lack of police resources in the area.

“We have seen for the past few months that there has been an escalation in gang violence in the Bishop Lavis as well as the Bonteheuwel area. This past weekend we had shootings in Bishop Lavis and one was fatal,” mentions Graham Lindhorst chairperson of the Bishop Lavis CPF.

“We keep on knocking at SAPS doors to bring about peace and stability in the areas and we keep getting the answers that there are limited resources. A few days ago we had elections and no less than two police officers were deployed at each voting station in Bonteheuwel so if those resources could be made available for elections then surely those resources could be made available for Bonteheuwel and the Cape flats,” Abrahams went further.

The CPF agrees with the sentiments that the police are not doing enough to curb gang violence in the area.

“We have been saying to the police for months bring in more resources because the police that are currently deployed in our areas are way too little to deal with the increase in crime in the area,” Lindhorst continued.

No arrests have yet been made in the case, but according to the CPF the vehicle that was used in the shooting was found in Bonteheuwel and was reported stolen initially in the Delft area.

VOC (Umarah Hartely)

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